Door Materials

Sara Faith Alterman | Improvement Center Columnist | December 14, 2011

As much as a front door can invite people in, it also can also act as a barrier between you and outside intrusions. Much more than just a slab of wood or sheet of vinyl, your front door is an integral part of your home's aesthetic and structure, so you should give careful thought to how it looks and functions.

In choosing a new door, start with materials before you think about custom details. The three most popular door materials are:

  • Steel
  • Fiberglass
  • Wood

Steel doors

Steel is a cost-efficient and durable choice for a door. Steel usually features insulation and weather stripping that can help you conserve energy, and thus save money on heating and cooling bills. Steel doors are also fire-resistant and able to stand up to even the most severe weather conditions. Leading manufacturers like Pella and Masonite offer steel doors in a variety of styles and colors. Steel doors can range in cost from $135 to $1,550.

Wood doors

Wooden front doors are usually made from either laminated plywood or solid wood. While laminated plywood is a popular choice for contemporary homes, solid wood doors are often associated with historic homes, and may come adorned with intricate carving or stained glass panels. The elegance of a solid wood door comes with a hefty price tag; this is generally the most expensive type of front door. Wood doors need regular maintenance and treatment to protect them from weather-related deterioration. Wood doors can range in price from $500 to $2,500. Expect to pay significantly more if you choose a solid wood door that's hand-carved, or has intricate glass inserts.

Fiberglass doors

Fiberglass may be the happy medium of door materials. It's equally energy-efficient and as cost-effective as steel, but available in a synthetic wood grain that gives the appearance of solid wood. One of the leading manufacturers of fiberglass doors, Therma-Tru offers fiberglass doors that are made with a patented technology that mimics the beautiful, often complex appearance of wood. Fiberglass is a low-maintenance material that is rust, warp and dent resistant. Fiberglass doors can range from $300 to $1,750.

From the front to the back, the way that you and others gain entry to your home says a lot about who you are. Choose a front portal that speaks to your personality, and stands up to the climate in your region.